MDC Alliance legislators have resolved to sue Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda after he ignored demands to reverse the docking of their allowances.
The dispute arose two weeks ago when the opposition MPs refused to stand when President Emmerson Mnangagwa entered parliament for his state of the nation address.
The MDC legislators accuse Mnangagwa of being an illegitimate leader who won the 2018 presidential elections through electoral malpractices.
Their action prompted Mudenda to announce that the MDC legislators would not receive their sitting allowances for the day.
Mudenda, who is a member of Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party, also stated that legislators who remained seated or walked out on Mnangagwa would not receive payment of sitting allowances they have been owed for the past five months as “their conduct was unpalatable and undermined the dignity of parliament”.
He was initially given 48 hours to reverse the decision.
Through their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, the legislators said they were suing the Speaker in his private capacity. Muchadehama confirmed he had drafted the papers and would file them early this week.
“Nowhere in the constitution is the Speaker of the National Assembly empowered to do what you did. The Parliament of Zimbabwe, National Assembly Standing Rules and Orders do not allow you to do so either,” reads a letter sent by Muchadehama.
“As you might be aware, any unlawful and unjustified delay in paying of the sitting allowance will greatly prejudice our clients,” the letter reads.
The legislators argue they are entitled to the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association, freedom to demonstrate, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and political rights.
The walkout is the latest since the MDC began protesting against Mnangagwa, who unseated Robert Mugabe in a coup in November 2017.
Opposition MPs were also kicked out of Parliament for “disrespecting” Mnangagwa in November 2018 by refusing to stand when he entered the chamber before the presentation of the national budget by finance & economic development minister Mthuli Ncube.
In the ensuing scuffle after riot police tried to remove them from parliament, MDC MPs Amos Chibaya, Thabitha Khumalo and Lynette Karenyi sustained injuries.
The three MPs are now suing the government for more than $20 000 as compensation for what they say was a violation of their rights.- TimesLive